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Tata Salt at Kumbh Mela: One lakh branded plates, 35 tonnes of salt, 15 'akharas'

By Aditi Srivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 20, 2016
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The copy on the plates reads 'Kariye Shubh Bhojan Ki Shuruwat, Ek Chutki Tata Namak Ke Saath'.

India - a land known for its fairs and festivals. A land also known for bringing together people from all walks of life, at the same place, for brief intervals of time. And, nothing proves this more than the Simhasth Kumbh Mela, one of the four Kumbh Melas held once in every 12 years, this time being held on the banks of River Kshipra in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

Leveraging the currently underway largest Hindu mass pilgrimage in Ujjain is Tata Salt, the salt brand from Tata Chemicals, which kicked off its month-long campaign titled 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' on April 22, and which will continue until May 21.

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

The brand, in its effort to restore the long-lost tradition of having a pinch of salt before a meal, (a custom believed to be auspicious, life-giving, and life-preserving), along with experiential marketing agency The Brand Brewery, undertook a two-step initiative to do so. It distributed one lakh branded 'thalis' to 15 'akharas' at the Kumbh Mela venue, on which to serve food to devotees visiting the Mela. The 'thalis' were so designed that there was a special section for salt, which the brand believes is its way of 'bringing salt's age-old glory to the masses'.

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

Tata Salt 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' Kumbh Mela campaign

Commenting on the campaign, Sagar Boke, head, marketing, consumer products business, Tata Chemicals, says, "The Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious congregations anywhere on earth where hundreds and thousands of pilgrims come together to take a dip of faith in the holy waters. In celebration of this holy spirit, Tata Salt came up with the 'Shubh Bhojan Ki Shubh Shuruwat' campaign to restore the ancient position of salt as something auspicious and life-preserving."

Sagar Boke

Boke says that Tata Salt, the country's first branded iodised salt, has consistently been named one of India's most trusted food brands. "The brand also delivers specially formulated products designed to cater to specific segments of consumers. Re-initiating the tradition of consuming a pinch of salt before the start of meals, Tata Salt wishes to restore the age-old glory of salt as a potent bringer of good luck and good health," says Boke.

The target group agnostic campaign has targeted one lakh people through this unique plate branding whose copy reads 'Kariye Shubh Bhojan Ki Shuruwat, Ek Chutki Tata Namak Ke Saath'. According to a popular news website, 5.5 crore devotees have already visited the Simhasth Kumbh Mela, claims the brand.

To add to it, 35 tonnes of Tata Salt have been distributed to the 15 'akharas' at the Kumbh Mela venue, meant to be used in the preparation of the meals. The campaign plans to reach approximately 50 lakh pilgrims through the distribution of salt, in addition to the one lakh people who have already been a part of the product branding.

The campaign has not made use of any other media mix. There is on-ground static branding like branded balloons, being sold at the Kumbh Mela venue, as well as help desk branding.

Been There, Done That

Given the enormity of footfalls that take place at the Kumbh Mela (across various parts of the country), new product launches by companies or building brand recall for and through the existing product portfolio by means of some unique on-ground activation is a recurring feature at the fairs.

We take a look at the brands that have similarly leveraged the Kumbh Mela, over the past few years.

Recently, Airtel, a popular telecom provider, undertook a beautification drive at all the major ghats, including Triveni Ghat, Gau Ghat, Sidhwat Ghat, and Mangalnath Ghat, located on the banks of the Kshipra river during Ujjain's ongoing Simhasth Kumbh Mela even as the outdoor campaign grabbed eyeballs for its 3G ads.

Last year, Aaj Tak, the 24-hour Hindi news channel from TV Today network, launched an on-ground, out-of-home campaign 'Safai Ki Dhun', a cleanliness drive at the Nashik Kumbh Mela. The 'Safaigiri' drive, as the brand called it, saw the installation of special changing rooms for pilgrims on the ghats of River Godavari, having equipped the entrance of the changing rooms with sensors that played the 'Safai ki Dhun, Bathroom ko Chun' jingle when one entered these rooms. The aim was to encourage the use of toilets.

Another brand that leveraged the confluence of sanitation and salvation to its optimum during the Nashik Kumbh Mela 2015 was Dettol, the hygiene brand from RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser). The brand promoted healthy hand-washing habits (especially, before eating) as part of its 'Kam Paani Mein Zyaada Suraksha' campaign.

The year 2013 saw Lifebuoy, the soap brand from Hindustan Unilever, tying up with local eateries during the Purna Kumbh Mela where it sent out branded 'chapatis' with the message 'Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?' (Did you you're your hands with Lifebuoy?). The same year, Idea, the telecom brand from the Aditya Birla Group, launched a high-decibel outdoor campaign with the help of branded balloons, welcome gates, bus branding, and helpline kiosks across Allahabad (the venue for that year), to gain brand visibility, as well as customer engagement exercise.

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